When God called missionary John Gilbert to become Headmaster of Yorktown Christian Academy, John brought his passion for a world lost without Christ into his goals and responsibilities. God formed a perfect partnership with a school that purposed to impart a world vision and the STCH Ministries focus on children and families. In February 2023, the Academy put into action their motto, “Love Crosses Oceans” for the 6th year with a large group of 38 children and parents in the Dominican Republic.
Eighth graders were invited on a week-long mission trip, accompanied by at least one parent. The impact goes beyond the individual to touch family and school relationships. They delivered food to hungry families and built and delivered beds for children. Little Maria will never lead a normal life due to crippling brain seizures and a speech disorder. She had never had her own bed and when the group delivered her bed, she couldn’t stop saying gracias, gracias, gracias! They worked to build a home for a family with 3 children who lived in a window-less zinc hovel that shared a neighborhood outhouse. They also prepared and presented a VBS program on the Armor of God. And as they prepared to teach and share they also learned, “Be equipped! Share your testimony. Speak truth boldly. Live a righteous life.”
One evening the mission team divided into small groups to share a meal in the homes of IBQ church families. Their gracious hospitality and love overlaid their humble circumstances. Adalisa Paredes and her children have been praying for such a long time for their husband and father, so when the YCA group asked, “How can we pray for you?” the children boldly responded in their father’s presence, “Pray that our Dad will go to church and come to know Jesus.” The team prayed right on the spot, and the father promised to come to the Sunday service the next morning! Excited to see God answer their prayers, the families embraced and prayed together after the service. They promised to keep each other in their prayers that Dad will soon make his decision to accept Christ. The YCA leadership is careful to emphasize flexibility–that this trip is NOT a vacation. The focus is, “Here am I, Lord, send me.” They purposed to serve, to work, to adjust to the unexpected with a great attitude! The love of Christ expressed in actions crossed an ocean. God so loved, that He gave His only Son. Yorktown Academy’s eighth-grade students and their parents shared that love to children and families in the Dominican Republic.
Vice President of Family and International Ministries